Milk wars has industry in uproar, senate inquiry hears
THE simple ritual of wandering to the corner shop to buy a litre of milk will leave many Australians scratching their heads this weekend.
As the supermarket price wars show no sign of abating, anyone used to fresh milk on their cereal in the morning will need to consider more than just the fat content. There’s the price, l oyalty t o f armers, convenience and even the fear of drinking UHT milk for life to think about.
Independent retailers are being charged about $ 3.50 for two litres of milk, while major supermarket chains obtain the same quantity for about $ 1.50.
Al most 1 0 0 d a i r y p r o - ducers, shop owners and organisations have lodged submissions to a Senate committee looking into the heavy discounting among supermarket chains.
Coles slashed the price of its home brand milk to $ 1 a litre in January, forcing rival Woolworths and smaller supermarket chains to do the same in order to keep customers churning through the checkouts.
But industry experts warn that Coles and Woolworths, which control about three quarters of the supermarket sector, are effectively subsidising discounted products by raising prices on the majority of their products.
The Senate hearings heard a protracted milk price war could damage the dairy industry, lead to shortages of fresh milk, higher prices and long-life milk being pushed on consumers.